The Armenian “blue-and-white” inspired by Chinese art
The V&A Museum, London, hosts an early-seventeenth-century blue-and-white pottery sample
that is considered a part of a rare, small group of wares commissioned by or for members of the
Armenian community living in New Julfa/Jugha, outside Isfahan, Iran. Being created circa 1700, it
is painted in underglaze blue with the “Aster pattern” after a Chinese ornamental motif, and the
centre incorporating an Armenian merchant’s monogram “NZT”, an abbreviation of “Nazaret”.
There are a number of dishes painted with “Nazaret”, a name attributed to “Khawaje Nazar”
(d.1636 [Kurdian]), who was the head of the Armenian community in New Julfa, or a descendent.
The present dish both with its palette, and ornamental details and their juxtapositions is based on a
Chinese prototype, widespread in the Islamic market of the time.